Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
And usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel’s warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.
~Johann Rist, 1641 (translated by John Troutbeck, 1885)
I don't look at Site Meter with the same eager obsessiveness I did once upon a time, but I'm glad I took a look at it today, because it appears I have a reader in Wasilla, Alaska. I wonder if I would have noticed it four months ago, before the arrival of Sarah Palin on the national political scene? I might have said, "Hmm, Alaska." But Wasilla brings with it all sorts of associations now, not just the Palin family, but the Daily Show's visit there and stories in all sorts of media outlets.
Wasilla reader, if you see this, please picture me waving at you! If you're a blogger, I hope you'll leave a comment.
I've been blogging regularly for almost five years, and it's given me a sense of more places in this country and the world as I read other bloggers' stories of their churches, the schools their kids attend, the places they drink coffee or buy groceries. The world feels wider, yet more intimate. As I continue to rest and attempt to recover before Christmas Eve, I wander around to see how my far-flung friends are coping with the holiday onslaught. We blog and Facebook and Twitter and keep tabs on one another.
It's hard to explain why I feel connected to particular people on my list of blog feeds, but I do. I wonder how things are going with that difficult colleague, or that strained relationship or that dissertation. I wonder if the job search will lead to a wonderful new "call" or position. I wonder how much smaller my world would feel without them.
I have one eye on MSNBC, and you don't have to watch much news to conclude that we live in a screwed-up world. But I believe, I do believe, that things are slowly getting better, despite our intense human resistance to change. This phenomenon of drawing closer makes the world more open, and I have to believe it makes the world a more likely place for goodness to break through and transform us.
At my house growing up, one of the nativity sets had a Jesus much like this one, ready for the cross, complete with one foot on the other. I never knew the reason for the pose until I grew up; really, I didn't know it until a few years ago. It's one of those images we may never hear explained. It's a pose of vulnerability. I always thought of the baby's arms being stretched out to his mother, when I was a little girl.
I want to live in a world where a person so full of divinity can live, rather than die, where the open arms can be an embrace rather than a surrender, however purposeful. I want all of us to be broken open to feel the possibility of love, to see the light shining in the darkness.